British man indicted in US over DDoS attacks

A British man is one of two men to be indicted by the US Department of Justice for alleged Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against two web sites.

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A British man is one of two men to be indicted by the US Department of Justice for alleged Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against two web sites.

24-year-old Lee Graham Walker of Bleys Bolton, and Axel Gembe of Germany were indicted on Thursday by a grand jury in Los Angeles, on one count of conspiracy and one count of intentionally damaging a computer system.

Gembe, 25, is believed to be the programmer behind Agobot, a well known malicious software program used to create a botnet or network of compromised PCs.

Walker is accused of helping maintain Gembe's botnet. According to the indictment, the two used IRC (Internet Relay Chat) to discuss ways to make the code behind the botnet more powerful and damaging to Web sites.

The two men were allegedly hired by Jay R. Echouafni, owner of Orbit Communication, a Massachusetts based company that sold home satellite systems, to carry out DDoS attacks. Those attacks were directed at the Web sites of two of Orbit's competitors, Rapid Satellite of Miami and Weaknees of Los Angeles.

The attacks halted Weaknees' business for two weeks in October 2003, causing the company £110,000 in losses, the DOJ said. Weaknees sold digital video recorders online. Rapid Satellite, which sold home satellite television systems, was also damaged.

During a DDOS attack, computers infected with the botnet code are directed to send overwhelming amounts of data traffic to the targeted Web site, which usually causes the site to become unavailable.

Echouafni remains at large. Another man, Paul Ashley, who prosecutors describe as one of the Echouafni's associates, has already completed a two-year prison sentence for his role in the conspiracy.